Sunday, 10 January 2010
MY TOP TEN FILMS FROM THE NAUGHTIES
A little bit late, but it's the thought that counts...
10/ SESSION 9
This supremely unsettling gem got under my skin from umpteen different directions, taking us on a terrifying tour of the Danvers State Mental Hospital where a group of men are charged with the task of asbestos removal under strict time constraints. As the hospital's evil past is slowly unravelled, Brad Anderson ramps up tension and suspense en route to a truly chilling finale.
9/ ALMOST FAMOUS
Cameron Crowe's wonderful coming-of-age tale about life on the road and the relationships between musicians, fans and the press. An absolute joy from start to finish and still one of my fave big-screen treats from The London Film Festival.
8/ LOST IN TRANSLATION
For me, this film did not miss a beat, right up to the beautiful ending which kept a private moment private in the same way as Lynch's superb THE STRAIGHT STORY.
7/ IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE
Exquisite, hypnotic and featuring two captivating performances, ITMFL goes far beyond its simple plot to capture period and situation with a delicacy that slowly envelopes the senses. Always gorgeous to look at, and a triumph for all involved.
This one brings back so many memories, and it's good to report that Anton Corbijn's absorbing biopic is a resounding success on every level. At the time, we all recognised just how good Joy Division were, and this heartbreaking look at a life that ended way too soon has brought a new generation of fans to some sublime music.
Michael Haneke's multi-layered film encroaches on private lives in the most terrifying way. One to admire ,even as it nudges many deep-seated fears.
4/ TALK TO HER
For me, Almodovar hasn't experienced a drop in form for years (and years) so one of his films was always going to end up on this list. I chose TALK TO HER because it came over to me as possibly his most challenging script and laced with some great performances.
3/ THE LIVES OF OTHERS
A remarkable feature debut which focuses on the German Democratic Republic's secret police, and the involvement of a Stasi captain played by the late Ulrich Muhe. Book this with HIDDEN for a most disconcerting double-bill.
2/ UNDER THE SAND
In which Charlotte Rampling slowly falls apart following the disappearance of her husband at a local beach. An astonishing career-best turn from Rampling who inhabits damn near every frame.
1/ MULHOLLAND DRIVE
If a film totally knocks me for six, I tend to wait a long time for my return visit, just in case the film in question fails to cast its spell a second time round. Not so with MULHOLLAND; a dizzying affair that mixes dreams with reality and demand multiple viewings to even attempt to decipher. 4 cinema screenings and several DVD sessions later, and this film still throws up fresh delights.